The development team at Ubisoft have been working on the game Watch Dogs for an unusually long time. This hacker-themed game has been in development for 4.5 years, long enough for the original concept to have gotten so close to real life that its developers have been able to easily consult with a team of real-world security experts at Kaspersky Lab, bringing the game to a place where, at release, it wont be impossible to imagine its action as a real-world situation.
Senior Producer Dominic Guay spoke at a preview of the game this week in San Francisco, letting it be known that the contents could be seen as a warning as much as a normal, every day third-person thriller. Here the player will be working as Pearce, a hacker living in a futuristic Chicago blanketed with a "Smart City" installation that can access essentially any information wirelessly.
What's more, this new-age Chicago's smart system doesn't just work with and control public service systems, it helps police hunt down and capture bad guys. Using systems like the very real SpotShotter, as pointed out by Venture Beat (they also attending this San Francisco preview of the game), the in-game police can track gunshots by triangulating the sounds with city-wide sound recorders.
"The problem is, if you start spying on people in every aspect of their lives, it becomes addictive. hat if you see a woman being mugged in a back alley or a man being extorted? It becomes hard to do nothing." - Dominic Guay
The game's hero Pearce will be aiming at and avoiding not only the police, but corrupt 3rd party users and gangs, each of them also taking advantage of the connectedness of the city and its citizens.
Much in the same way Batman is able to hone in on sound signals throughout a city by tapping in to the cellphone signals of its citizens, here too anyone with access will be able to hear all. Batman's ability to do this appears in the movie The Dark Knight as well as in the video game Batman: Arkham City. In Watch Dogs, this sound system is part of the larger ctOS (City Operating System).
Helping to advance the realism of the game to a point that's essentially creepy, Kaspersy Lab has been confirmed to be working with the developers of this game in its last phases. Speaking at the game preview this week with Joystiq, Guay made their involvement clear:
"We're working with Kaspersky Lab, a big security firm. They have really hardcore experts there on hacking. We send them some of our designs and we ask them feedback on it, and it's interesting to see what gets back. Sometimes they say, 'Yeah, that's possible, but change that word,' or, 'That's not the way it works.'" - Dominic Guay
It's also become clear that this game will not be restricted to your gaming console - it'll not just be a game you play on Xbox 360, PC, Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, and the rest. Instead you'll have gameplay expansion available on smartphone systems and on tablets as well. This game will, like the hero of the game, be played on the move, as well.
Expect Watch Dogs to be solidified with detail galore by the time of its final release later this year. At the moment it would appear that Watch Dogs will be set for a November 22nd release date and will be appearing on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC at the start.